Are Pine Nuts Good For You? Here’s What Nutrition Experts Say



Pine nut 101

Even if you happen to could not acknowledge a pine nut by itself, you have doubtless eaten one if you happen to’ve ever had basil pesto, a conventional Italian sauce during which pine nuts are a staple ingredient.

But that is removed from their solely use. With nutty and earthy tones, pine nuts are nice to snack on, cook dinner with, or sprinkle on dishes so as to add texture and crunch.

So it is clear they’re tasty. But are they good for you? We requested vitamin consultants about pine nuts’ vitamins, well being advantages, and extra.

What are pine nuts?

It might come as a shock, however regardless of their identify, pine nuts aren’t a part of the nut household. They are literally seeds that come from sure varieties of pine bushes.

Many of the pine nuts from Canada and the United States are harvested from wild bushes within the pinyon pine group, corresponding to Pinus edulis, or Colorado pinyon, and some others.

When it involves international manufacturing and export, nevertheless, most pine nuts come from the stone pine tree, Pinus pinea.

If you plant a pine tree in the present day, you possibly can count on to attend 15 to 25 years earlier than it produces these small seeds. This timeframe is one motive for pine nuts’ hefty price ticket.

What do pine nuts seem like?

The seeds are formed like an oval or an elongated kernel and have an ivory or beige hue. Typically, they’re harvested by hand, one more reason they’re dearer than different seeds.

Usually the shell is eliminated earlier than packaging. People eat pine nuts uncooked or roasted.

food on a table

© Julia_Sudnitskaya/Getty Images

Pine nuts vitamin

“Pine nuts, particularly, are nice sources of plant-based protein, iron, magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin B, calcium and phosphorus,” says Uma Naidoo, MD, a dietary psychiatrist, skilled chef, vitamin specialist, and the writer of This is Your Brain on Food.

Here are the vitamins in 30 grams (about one ounce) of uncooked pine nuts:

Calories: 200

Fat: 21 g (27 p.c every day worth, or DV)

Cholesterol: 0 (0 p.c DV)

Sodium: 0 (0 p.c DV)

Carbohydrates: 4 g (1 p.c DV)

Fiber: 1 g (4 p.c DV)

Sugars: 1 g

Protein: 4 g (8 p.c DV)

Calcium: 0 mg (0 p.c DV)

Iron: 1.8 mg (10 p.c DV)

Magnesium: 71.2 mg (17 p.c DV)

Potassium: 169 mg (3 p.c DV)

Phosphorus: 163 mg (13 p.c DV)

Vitamin E: 2.64 mg (18 p.c DV)

Health advantages of pine nuts

Thanks to all of their health-promoting vitamins, pine nuts might have optimistic results in your physique.

Keep in thoughts that simply because the compounds beneath have been linked to well being advantages doesn’t suggest there’s proof pine nuts yield such advantages.

More analysis is required to find out whether or not pine nuts can instantly have an effect on your well being, and the way.

They may increase mind well being

Pine nuts have antioxidants, that are useful compounds that may decrease how unstable atoms, also referred to as free radicals, have an effect on the physique.

“Antioxidants assist decrease ranges of mobile stress within the mind and scale back irritation, and [they] have been tied to a decreased risk of dementia and cognitive decline,” explains Dr. Naidoo.

Of course, that does not imply there’s proof that pine nuts particularly might help your mind. Still, it would not damage to get antioxidants the place you possibly can, together with from pine nuts.

They’re not the one compound in pine nuts that is been linked to higher brain health. An abundance of fatty acids, corresponding to omega-3s, are one more reason pine nuts may profit your mind.

“Omega-3s promote mind operate and scale back irritation and have been tied to improved psychological well being in addition to an total more healthy mind,” explains Dr. Naidoo.

A examine in Pharmacological Reviews discovered simply that. The authors notice that that omega-3 fatty acids have been beneficial for overall brain health, helped with mind operate, and lowered irritation.

But the hyperlink is much from confirmed, in keeping with Danielle Gaffen, a registered dietitian nutritionist and vitamin marketing consultant in San Diego.

More analysis is required to find out if pine nuts can contribute to cognitive functioning and mind well being,” she says.

They could also be good for the center

Packed with minerals and wholesome fat, these small seeds maintain potential for the center

“Pine nuts are loaded with heart-healthy unsaturated fat—each poly and mono—that are essential for coronary heart well being and common well being, and quite a few different health-promoting vitamins, together with magnesium,” says Melina B. Jampolis, MD, an internist, board-certified doctor vitamin specialist, and writer of Spice Up, Live Long.

She names magnesium as one other health-promoting nutrient that may profit coronary heart operate.

They may be useful when it comes to your ldl cholesterol.

“Like many different nuts, pine nuts have been proven to control levels of cholesterol, even growing ranges of HDL ldl cholesterol in addition to stopping the buildup of plaque in blood vessels,” says Gaffen.

They may assist handle blood sugar

Healthy fat and minerals corresponding to magnesium might support in sustaining blood sugar ranges.

“The unsaturated fats, particularly instead of carbohydrates, might help enhance blood sugar control, and magnesium helps the physique reply higher to insulin, which may additionally enhance blood sugar management and scale back the danger of diabetes,” says Dr. Jampolis.

Those aren’t the one vitamins that assist preserve even blood sugar ranges.

“[Pine nuts] include some fiber and plant protein, which helps scale back diabetes danger, in addition to polyphenols that will assist in blood sugar regulation and discount of irritation, which is commonly related to diabetes and insulin resistance,” says Dr. Jampolis.

And do not forget the sugar and carb content material.

“Pine nuts are usually low in sugar and include good quantities of plant-based fat and protein, which reduces [the] potential for prime blood sugar or blood sugar spikes that may result in diabetes over time,” says Dr. Naidoo.

That low carbohydrate content material makes them snack or topping for individuals with diabetes too.

They might doubtlessly enhance pores and skin

Pine nuts include vitamin E, which is useful for a lot of elements of the physique, together with the pores and skin.

“Vitamin E promotes wholesome hair, pores and skin, and nails,” says Dr. Naidoo.

Of course, whether or not pine nuts can instantly enhance the pores and skin is one other matter—and must be studied.

Risks or unwanted effects of consuming pine nuts

They’re excessive in energy

There’s nothing improper with a sprinkle of those seeds on salads or different dishes.

Just needless to say pine nuts are excessive in energy. Dr. Jampolis suggests controlling portion measurement.

“We can reap their nutrient profit from only a handful or couple of tablespoons a day,” says Dr. Naidoo.

You may very well be allergic

People who’re allergic to tree nuts or peanuts aren’t mechanically allergic to pine nuts (in spite of everything, they’re not likely a nut), nevertheless it’s attainable they may very well be.

Allergies to pine nuts are much like tree nuts, and reactions can vary from thoughts to extreme, says Gaffen. Serious reactions can embrace anaphylaxis, a doubtlessly life-threatening response during which your airways can slim, blocking your capacity to breathe.

It’s suggested to talk together with your physician earlier than consuming them.

“If you have got a peanut or tree nut allergy, it’s best to be examined by a health care provider for a pine nut allergy earlier than deeming your self secure,” says Dr. Naidoo.

They could cause an odd response

Although it is unusual, pine nuts might actually depart a nasty style in your mouth.

Eating pine nuts on occasion could cause some individuals to expertise a bitter or metallic taste that lasts for a number of days as much as two weeks.

“There is arare danger of one thing known as pine mouth, or pine nut syndrome, during which individuals get a bitter style of their mouth 12 to 48 hours after consuming pine nuts that may final for weeks,” says  Dr. Jampolis. “This is not an allergy, and the trigger is unknown.”

How to cook dinner with pine nuts

With their mild and delicate taste, pine nuts are versatile and simple to eat. Gaffen suggests pairing them with sauces, pastas, breads and different baked goods, salads, and sautéed veggies corresponding to inexperienced beans, spinach, or asparagus.

“They might be eaten by themselves as a snack, blended right into a home made nut/seed path combine, or added to a salad or vegetable dish,” says Dr. Naidoo.

You can eat them simply as they’re, however chances are you’ll wish to contemplate toasting them in a pan to carry out the flavors.

“Roasting them, particularly with herbs or spices, is a scrumptious technique to take pleasure in them as a topping for greens or salads,” says Dr. Jampolis, who suggests roasting with cinnamon or nutmeg so as to add as a topping to yogurt.

Or attempt them in sweet dishes or desserts. Italian pignoli cookies are well-known for his or her pine nuts.

Pine nuts recipes

Looking for extra concepts? Make considered one of these 20 pine nut recipes. Or attempt Dr. Jampolis’ pine nut seafood recipe, beneath.

Caper Pesto-Glazed Sea Bass

Courtesy of Dr. Melina B. Jampolis

Serves: 1


2 tablespoons capers

3 tablespoons parsley

1 teaspoon pine nuts, toasted

1/8 teaspoon recent garlic, minced

Juice of half a lemon

4 tablespoons olive oil

6 ounce sea bass fillet, deboned and skinned

Kosher salt, to style

White pepper, to style


  • Add the capers, parsley, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil to a meals processor or blender. Blend on excessive till nicely integrated. Set apart.
  • Season the ocean bass with salt and white pepper to style.
  • In a nonstick pan, add a little bit olive oil. Heat on medium-high till the pan begins to smoke barely.
  • Add the fish from entrance to again to keep away from oil splash, and sear for 3 minutes, till golden brown. Flip the fish over and cook dinner for one more three to 4 minutes.
  • Make positive to cook dinner the fish via. Glaze the highest of the fish with pesto and serve.

Next, right here’s what you might want to find out about tiger nuts.

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